This week we are writing a number of posts to raise awareness of Early Childhood Intervention for children with developmental delays and disabilities. This post discusses the benefits of Early Childhood Intervention.
So, what’s all the fuss about Early Childhood Intervention? Why is it important? And what are the benefits?
Early Childhood Intervention has benefits for your child, for you as a parent, and for your family and all families who have a child with a developmental delay or disability.
Below are some of the key opportunities and benefits of Early Childhood Intervention:
Opportunity for better outcomes for your child:
Research has shown that infant brains, between birth and two years of age, go through a rapid period of development. During this period, new connections and pathways are formed within the brain. This rapid increase in brain connections is reflected in the HUGE number of skills that children typically learn before the age of 2. They learn to walk, talk, interact with others, problem solve, eat, drink, use tools… All of these skills are the building blocks for their continued growth and development into the future. By receiving early intervention, ideally before the age of two, your child is able to harness this period of natural brain development. This is the time when your child has the potential to maximise their progress and potential.
Opportunity for you, as a parent, to learn about your child’s needs and how to support them:
Due to the family-centred approach used in early childhood intervention, you will receive as much support, guidance and education as your child will receive. By better understanding your child’s needs, you will be better able to support your child, to make decision that you will be confident are in your child’s best interests, and to advocate for your child.
Opportunity for you, as a parent, to get support to and learn to understand how to navigate the health and support systems for your child:
Where to go and who to get help from for your child can be a very daunting, confusing and overwhelming process. There is the health system, the community system, the NDIS, the education system, playgroups, etc… Early intervention services can help you to navigate what supports your child might need, and who you might be able to get help from.
Opportunity for you, as a parent, to learn how to support your child within the context of your family:
Your child and their needs have to be considered within the context you’re your needs, your partner’s needs, and the needs of any other children in the family. This is why Early Childhood Intervention services use a family-centred approach. Early Childhood Intervention services will support you to find a balance between meeting your child’s needs, but being able to fit them in among all of your family’s needs. Keeping your family unit functioning, happy, and connected is so important to your, your child’s and your family’s life.
Opportunity to link with other parents and family’s going through the same or similar difficulties:
Finding out your child has a developmental delay or disability can be an isolating experience. Early Childhood Intervention services can help you to link with parent support programs, playgroups, or parent social groups. Meeting up with other parents provides an opportunity for you to find people who you can connect with who understand what you are going through. These parents might be able to offer you advice and support about difficulties you are currently dealing with.
Importantly, through early childhood intervention, all of these benefits are gained in your child’s early years. This maximises the opportunities for your child to make developmental gains. It also provides you with the opportunity to ‘find your feet’ as a parent of a child with a developmental delay or disability – all before life gets crazy busy with school and other commitments!
Our next post will be able what to do if you are concerned about your child’s development. Make sure you keep an eye out for it tomorrow!